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Weekends With Alex Witt

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David Petraeus 11, Benghazi 11, Us 11, Fbi 10, Florida 9, Alex 7, Boehner 6, Obama 6, Paula Broadwell 5, Petraeus 4, Washington 4, Bob 4, Mitch Mcconnell 3, John Boehner 3, Alex Witt 3, Tennessee 3, Joe 3, Nbc 3, Msnbc 2, Amie Parnes 2,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business.  
   Live news coverage. New.  

    November 10, 2012
    7:00 - 8:00am EST  

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sometimes even really good things can get better. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again monday night. "weekends with alex witt" starts now. shock and gone. the cia director and four-star general david petraeus abruptly resigned because of an extramarital affair. there's new information this morning. the fiscal cliff. is the u.s. closer to the edge of an economic disaster, or is there room for compromise? and we compare what the president and the gop house leader said. spending spree. new signs today that the economy is on the upswing, and you might be driving it. good morning, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt," let's get to what's happening right now out there as we have new information today on the shocking resignation of cia director david petraeus. we have now learned the fbi opened an investigation into his
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biographer, paula broadwell, for allegedly accessing petraeus' e-mails. all this just a week before the general was set to testify before congress on the benghazi attack. joining me now is greg miller, national security correspondent for "the washington post." greg, what a morning. let's get right to it. i'd like to hear the latest that you've learned. >> well, you know, the big question now is what is the reason for this fbi investigation into this e-mail? and it does look like this is an access to a personal e-mail account. so, this is not a case, as it initially appeared yesterday, of david petraeus coming forward to clear a guilty conscience or something. this is a case where he was flushed out in the open by an fbi investigation that had to do with security. >> okay. now, nbc news has not yet been able to reach paula broadwell for comment, so we haven't confirmed that she is, quote, the woman, but we do know the fbi's investigating her for possibly accessing petraeus' e-mail. what kind of information were she to be able to access that, would she have gotten?
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>> well, it's -- all the indications so far is that this is a personal e-mail account. it's not a cia or military e-mail account. so it would have presumably personal information there, but not necessarily national security information. but if she had access to his computer, or had access to passwords that might be -- enable her to get into other areas, then there is a security question here. and this is one of the things that members of congress are already looking into. >> yeah. so national security, not necessarily at risk here. how about criminal charges against broadwell. could those be forthcoming? >> we're told that appears very unlikely at this point that there would be criminal charges either against the cia director or against paula broadwell. >> okay. can it really just be called coincidence that his resignation comes right now, one week before he is set to testify on benghazi? >> well, i think that it's -- we don't see any evidence that there's any link to benghazi here, and the cia officials we talked to yesterday were adamant that the benghazi controversy
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has nothing to do with this decision to resign. >> but, greg, here's the deal. you write about the suspicions of infidelities, which had followed petraeus for years. so the timing, why is this coming out now? >> well, i think there is a timing question. it's not necessarily benghazi question, but, clearly the director had to have known about this prior to the election. the question is when did when and who in the white house knew about this. but, it looks like a case where the director may have held this together until just days after the election to avoid creating a major news story and disruption in the middle of an election cycle. >> what about the whens and the whos in terms of the white house? when did they find out? and who was it that found out? >> right. well white house officials insist that they did not learn about that david petraeus had a big problem on his hands until wednesday. and then that petraeus sought a meeting with the president, comes to meet with the president, lays this all out, says he intends to resign and it's not until thursday that
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obama accepts that decision. or friday, i should say. but, this is -- if there were any national security implications of this fbi investigation into the e-mail, then that would have required some prior notification of somebody in the white house. i mean, if there's a -- if your cia director is in a situation that is creating a national security issue, then there's no way that the fbi doesn't let the white house know about that well in advance. >> even if the white house were to say, as you suggested, we're in the middle of an election, a campaign, we're down to the final wire, do -- i mean is that just not plausible? that it doesn't matter what you are doing, when you have something of this magnitude affecting someone like this, the head of the cia, the white house has to know. they're going to know. >> yeah, well, i mean, it depends. i mean, if petraeus thinks he's doing -- if he's doing a favor by containing this, and he's able to do that until after the election, i can see a scenario in which he follows that course.
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and, i mean, by all accounts, the white house officials we talked to said that the president was quite stunned about this, did not expect to have to confront something like this two days after the election, and, in fact, many there assumed that petraeus was one of the pieces that would stay in place on their national security team going forward. >> it's been very interesting, really, the bipartisan support of petraeus, and the -- the expressions of sadness that he is gone. >> right. i mean, well nor feinstein was the chairman of the senate intelligence committee yesterday went so far as saying she didn't think he needed to resign over this. i'm not sure if she appreciated the magnitude of the fbi investigation that had triggered this. but, yeah, he had a lot of support. he was a revered figure in washington, the most celebrated military official of his generation, and so -- and also a
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guy who burnished his own image to such an extent that many thought it was impossible that he would make a misstep like this. in fact, you, alex, the suspicions that had lingered around him for a number of years. well we looked into those, and many times the answer we got was, petraeus would not be that stupid. he would not take a step that would put his career, the most precious thing to him, in any jeopardy. >> what about the effects on the intelligence community overall? what's the fallout going to be? >> this is a big disruption for the intelligence community in a number of ways. i mean, there are -- his deputy, michael morell is a cia veteran, very polished, very sharp, will step in as the new acting director of the cia. but as i was saying, this white house was just beginning the process of assembling its national security team for a second term. so now, this scrambles that. they now have to decide whether morel keeps that job or they move somebody else into the cia
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position. and if that's the case, then morell was rumored to possibly going into the white house to replace john brennan. there's going to be ripple effects through that security team, and it's also, as you pointed out, coming just a few days before key testimony before the senate and the house on benghazi. so there are always things in play that petraeus was central to, and now you have to -- you have to go to the bench to take care of this stuff. >> all right. greg miller, glad to have you right off the top of the show. thanks so much. >> thank you. we are going to be talking with msnbc military analyst colonel jack jacobs, who personally knows general petraeus and his family. we're going to get his take on the general's resignation a bit later on this hour. here's the question for all of you, cia director petraeus, should he have resigned for having an affair? talk to me on twitter, my handle is @alexwitt. i will read some of your tweets throughout the day. the other big story out of washington this morning, president obama says he's committed to working with congress to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
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but at the same time, the president appears to be standing his ground on tax hikes for the wealthy, as part of his plan. >> i'm not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes. i'm not going to do that. >> house speaker john boehner is also standing his ground, speaking ahead of the president friday. the speaker says he remains unwilling to raise taxes on upper income earners. >> everyone wants to get our economy moving again. everyone wants to get more americans back to work again. raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says they want. >> joining me now, white house correspondent for the hill, amie parnes and "washington post" congressional reporter ed o'keefe. hi, you guys, good to see you both. let's talk fiscal cliff with you, starting with you, amie. the president says upper income
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americans are going to have to pay higher taxes. leader boehner essentially says no, that's a nonstarter. is all this just posturing and both have an idea where compromise is going to lie? >> i think they're trying to posture. but i think right now, president obama has the upper hand. i mean he's just won re-election. he's basically telling people, look, the american people elected me, because they want a stronger middle class. they want me to push what i have been pushing, which is for a stronger middle class. so i think he has the upper hand. and republicans kind of know this right now. >> ed, you know, last year's grand bargain between boehner and the president, that fell through. reportedly because of the tea party types in the gop. so why should we believe that has changed when the tea party wagged the gop majority dog, so to speak? >> you know, i spent a lot of time in the last few weeks talking to members of congress, and the people that were running against them, and in the discussions with the republicans, i think they made it very clear that they understand that a deal has to be made before the end of the year.
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and i think even since election day talking to people up there, that they understand that the economy's at stake. that their own political futures are at stake. because while the president isn't up for re-election, certainly many of them are in two years. and remember some of the most outspoken members of the tea party lost on tuesday. alan west looks to be gone. joe walsh out of illinois appears to be gone. michele bachmann had a bit of a scare, barely winning her re-electi re-election. i think they understand that they're going to have to perhaps temper it a bit, maybe fall in line and all indications are that the early conversations among republicans, they understand that there's going to have to be some negotiation. it's just a question of what exactly they will compromise on. >> what do you think, amie, the president might get pushback from democrats in the senate? >> i think that right now they want the president to stand firm on, you know, basically not -- they want the middle class, they don't want the upper 2% to be the winner in this battle. so i think that they're going to stand firm on that and you're going to see him kind of stand
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firm on that point. they're not going to -- he's going to push through what he wants, what he can campaigned on, in this past election. >> what about the numbers, ed? you heard anything about movement? the threshold being a quarter of a million, $250,000 now. might that just move upwards to say half a million? >> that's a possibility. because over the course of the last year we've seen three different proposals from democrats. there was a million plus. there's now $250,000 plus. but look at tim kaine who won the senate seat in virginia. he campaigned on $500,000 plus. you know, which was kind of literally a middle ground between those two numbers. so i seem to think that, yeah, perhaps they could move that needle and still hit upper income people to some extent. but then the question is, how do you make up, you know, that gap in what -- and the more that you would have gotten if you were increasing taxes on people making $250,000 plus. that means more spending cuts and that might be a nonstarter among senate democrats and even house democrats who don't want
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to see entitlement, you know, programs touched like medicare. of course an issue they ran on during the election. and even deeper cuts in domestic spending. programs that frankly already are pretty low on the spending scale. >> okay. so to both of you, ed you can go first. prediction. is this all going to get figured out by january 1st? >> if congress doesn't want the markets to suffer, if they don't want to see the credit rating messed with again, if they want to provide confidence to the world economy they will get it done before new year's day. >> amie? >> without a doubt. this is going to echo what happened with the payroll tax last year. we're all going to be here until december 23rd covering this. but i think it all gets done. >> amie parnes, ed o'keefe. settle in for a long winter's watch. thanks. the david petraeus resignation. what more do we no about the fbi investigation that led to the discovery of his extramarital affair? we will try to unravel some of that mystery for you. sfirs senator bob corker of tennessee on the plan he has to avoid the fiscal cliff right here on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] this is anna, her long day teaching the perfect swing
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you'll only find the innovative sleep number bed at one of our 400 stores, where queen mattresses start at just $699. next friday congressional leaders of both parties head to the white house. the president invited them to work on solving the impending fiscal cliff. nbc white house correspondent mike viqueira is joining me live. >> hello, alex. >> what's been the response from republicans to this invitation? >> both sides say they want compromise, but there doesn't appear to be any common ground on one very big issue, and that is how much should the wealthy pay in taxes? the stakes couldn't be higher. analysts say if they can't come to an agreement by the end of this year it could mean another recession. >> in his first white house appearance after his winning
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campaign, president obama issued a warning ahead of the coming fiscal fight with republicans. >> i refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced. and on tuesday night we found out that the majority of americans agree with my approach. >> reporter: that approach means making the wealthy pay more in taxes. a vow the president made repeatedly in the campaign. but republican house speaker john boehner, appearing earlier in the day, said it won't happen on his watch. >> raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says they want. >> reporter: it is the key sticking point. and if it can't be resolved by the end of the year, the nation heads over the so-called fiscal cliff. a combination of expiring tax cuts, costing the average household almost $3500 in higher taxes next year. and deep cuts to both domestic and defense spending. combined, analysts say it would mean slower economic growth, and a soaring jobless rate next year. since the election, both sides have signaled they're willing to
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bend. >> i'm not wedded to every detail of my plan. i'm open to compromise. i'm open to new ideas. >> reporter: both sides also hint that if there is to be a deal, it could ultimately include dramatic changes to the tax code, and an overhaul of entitlement programs. >> it's not like there's money in social security or medicare. it -- this has to be dealt with. so everything, everything on the revenue side, and on the spending side, has to be looked at. >> reporter: and, alex, now both sides have put down their public markers, their lines in the sand. the first step towards negotiation and compromise comes next week as you reported here at the white house, the president will host the congressional leadership. alex? >> all right. thank you very much. great setup for our interview, mike. for more on 9 looming fiscal cliff and the resignation of cia director david petraeus i'm joined by republican senator bob corker of tennessee. senator corker, welcome. thank you for being with us. >> good morning, alex. >> david petraeus. he's a man who is well-liked on
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both sides of the aisle. how surprised were you, sir, when you learned of his resignation? >> stre. he is a legend in my home state of tennessee and certainly here on the hill. hugely respected. when he speaks, people listen. and so very surprised and disappointed. i know the cia is going to miss him. all of us on the hill are going to tremendously miss him. >> do you have any concerns that national security was ever at risk? >> you know, i just don't know enough about the details, really, at this moment to respond. i've read everything that's come out thus far and i'm sure more will come out as the week goes on. but, i just don't know enough, really, to weigh in. >> no. >> i can just say that, you know, again, he's a figure here that people respected. i know he contributed tremendously through his lifetime to our national security, and i hate to see him leave. >> well, i appreciate your candor, because it's a very sensitive situation. how about this, though, sir, from a political perspective, there are those who suggest there is more here that meets the eye. do you buy any of that talk? >> i just don't know. i mean, this is a place that's always looking for conspiracy
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theory. i think you know i've led the charge on benghazi. i've been to libya since it occurred. and tried to understand what happened there. and you know, the timing, obviously, is odd, at best. but i'm just not in -- i'm not in the place to really offer conspiracy theories yet. i think that, you know, again, more is going to come out as the week goes on. and there still will be a hearing this week. it would be great if the director could still testify, in spite of the fact that he stepped down. but we'll see how it goes. and again, i just don't know enough to lend to a conspiracy theory at this moment. >> here's something i know you do know a lot about. let's move on to the fiscal cliff with you. the president and speaker john boehner seem pretty far apart when it comes to their approaches to raising revenue. is there any middle ground here? >> so, i'm more of an optimist. and i listen to the president's speech, and then i know the, you know, the communication strength
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director came out later in the day and clarified something. but look, the fact is that republicans are willing to have revenues on the table. the big issue, really, is not the revenue piece, in my opinion. it's really how deep are republicans willing to go to fundamentally change medicare so that it's solvent for the future? it's kind of like there's a dial on each. if we can really cause medicare to be solvent for the future, i think republicans will dial the dial up on revenue, so the two are almost -- that they rely upon each other as it relates to getting to a compromise. on the revenue issue. the reason republicans would like to see higher income folks like me pay more by closing loophopes, is that's a pro-growth way of generating revenues. all of us understand that the upper income are going to pay more in revenues. we'd like to do so by closing loopholes, because when you look at how businesses are formed today, they're through llcs, and sub-ss, and those are
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pass-throughs. so they pay taxes at the individual level. so what you want to do in your tax code is you want to stimulate the economy. this is something we've been laying out for a long, long time. loopholes are just spending at another name. so republicans are more than willing to close those, especially on upper income citizens. and hat that will do, though, is generate the revenue that the president wants from the upper income citizens. but it will do so in a way that stimulates the economy. and so we can get both. and that's why we've been pushing towards that end. >> so i understand your explanation. and i thank you for that in terms of why closing loopholes works. but does that also mean that it's a nonstarter to raise revenue via raising taxes? >> well, so, you know, i'm not the person that's going to be sitting at the table. and really there are only two people that can get a result by year end. i've spent a year crafting a very detailed plan that i think is a great solution to our nation's problem, but the fact
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is, there's only two people that will solve this. that's the president, and that's speaker boehner. and what i think is best for all of us to do is to talk about those areas of commonality, to tremendously support these negotiations, because when you look at the time frame, alex, the only way we're going to get to a solution by year end is if the president and speaker boehner come to an agreement, because i believe anything they agree to is something that will pass the senate. so it's really the house, and the president. and it's time for both of them to step up and show the kind of leadership this nation needs to solve that problem. >> how about this? first of all, do you believe we will come to a resolution by the end of this year? and as you know, speaker boehner supports a stopgap measure that would at least buy time until january when the new congress could take up these bigger ticket items? >> yeah. >> i know that their suggestion is kicking the can down the road. but do you support a two-step process? >> i don't. look, alex.
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we all know what the issues are. we've had two dry runs. there's nothing new. we understand the entitlements have to be reformed. and we understand that revenues need to be generated. so i don't like the two-step process. i'd rather rip the band-aid off, let's do what the american people have elected us to do. it's time for us to step up. and so, i do understand that there may be additional measures down the road that we need to put in place, because our fiscal problems are very, very large. but what i hate to see happen is some small down payment and a kicking of the can down the road. we can do this now, the environment is never going to be better than it is today. let's go ahead and deal with this issue, put this issue largely in the rear view mirror, and let's focus on the greatness of this nation. >> all right. republican senator bob corker of tennessee. many thanks for your time. great to talk with you. >> thank you. next up, a democrat who's a member of the budget committee will join me. what kind of a deal would he make with the gop to avoid the fiscal cliff?
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that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. now to our three big money headlines. sky-high confidence. black thursday. and counting the beans. joining me now, hitha prabhakar a retail and economy analyst. good morning, this brand-new survey shows consumer confidence at its highest since july, 2007. what's that say about the growth of the economy? >> well, alex, economists still say that the economy is growing at a slower rate. but look at these numbers. consumer confidence hits at 84.9. that's up from 82.9 which economists were expecting it to go to. some of the reasons why really has to do with the unemployment rate falling. it is, you know, kind of coming down, and also gas prices falling as well as home values prices. those are coming down, as well. >> okay, what about walmart's black friday frenzy in the shopping world? that's arriving early. what's different this year? >> walmart to the rescue. they're going to save us from all of us that don't want to spend any time with our families
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any longer than we have to. they are opening their doors at 8:00 p.m. trying to get a part of that market share away from target and kohl's. so those shoppers will be able to go to walmart, go shopping on thanksgiving day. >> wow, mcdonald's, i hear, down first drop in its earnings? >> global sales is overall sinking for mcdonald's. what they're trying to do is really focus on their dollar menus. that was a core value there. they're going to concentrate on that and less more so on their higher end items. >> what about the wholesale price of coffee? that fell by nearly a third a year. i'm not feeling it when i go to starbucks. >> i know you're a fan of starbucks. we are going to be paying those jacked up prices. those went up 1% the beginning of the year. they also went up 17% in 2011. but global production of coffee, and coffee beans are up in brazil alone, 66 billion pounds of coffee were produced in 2012. >> i think i drink about a billion of them. >> you do.
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>> hitha prabhakar, thank you. in today's one-minute playback the most popular pictures on twitter following president obama's win tuesday night. here's an excerpt from late night with jimmy fallon. >> president obama's photo of him hugging michelle has become the most retweeted photo of all time. take a look at this photo. aw. and if you're wondering what the least retweeted photo of all time is. well, here you go. it's karl rove. marie callender's puts everything you've grown to love about sunday dinner into each of her pot pies. tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a crust made from scratch. marie callender's. it's time to savor. [ male announcer ] it's time for medicare open enrollment. are you ready? time to compare plans and see what's new. you don't have to make changes, but it's good to look. maybe you can find better coverage, save money, or both. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law. ♪
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this is really a stunning news. it comes on the heels of the president's triumphant re-election, of course. cia director david petraeus, restiered four-star general who led combat forces in iraq and afghanistan, was really considered one of the top leaders of his generation. now sources on the hill, and at the white house, say his reputation was just sterling. the family man who is known for putting country first. but that all changed this week when he offered his resignation. in a letter to his cia colleagues he said, quote, after being married for 37 years, i showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. now earlier this year, petraeus was the subject of a biography by west point graduate paula broadwell, a ph.d. student we met at harvard. nbc news has confirmed that the fbi opened an investigation into whether broadwell had improper access to petraeus' e-mails or other computer access. that's what sparked all this,
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alex. meanwhile mr. obama appointed petraeus' deputy to take over at the cia and released this statement, thanking petraeus for his service. quote, by any measure through his lifetime of service, david petraeus has made our country safer and stronger. going forward my thoughts and prayers are with dave and holly petraeus who has done so much to help military families through her own work. i wish them the very best at this very difficult time. this, of course, comes as the cia and the obama administration face intense scrutiny over that benghazi attack. petraeus was expected to testify on the hill next week. michael morrell will now do that. >> kristen welker thank you very much for that. let's get some more now. i'm joined by msnbc senior political analyst and "time" magazine editor at large mark halperin. good morning. let's get perspective on you -- i mean on this from you, because it seems to come out of nowhere, and you even have california senator dianne feinstein saying that she wishes the president had not accepted his
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resignation? >> there's still more we don't know about what happened than what we do know. for one thing, we don't know why the president felt he had to accept it. clearly was a lot of support for david petraeus on capitol hill. and in the executive branch. anyone who is that big a superstar, anyone who's that prominent is going to have a few detractors. david petraeus, both at the pentagon and as cia director had been seen as someone extraordinarily talented. senator feinstein has said since the resignation she really thought his command of the intelligence was second to none. and while we're farther away from 9/11, obviously, every day, people still feel within the executive branch and in the intelligence world, the intelligence communities on capitol hill that we have to have a full-court, all-out effort to deal with threats around the world and general petraeus has been, for a long time, a central part of that. >> you have to wonder about the timing here. i mean, he was supposed to testify on capitol hill. there's nothing to say that he still may, or may not. but he was going to testify about the benghazi situation.
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it just doesn't seem right. >> sandwiched between election day and the expected testimony next week, you've already got engaging speculation on cable channels, internet, twitter, you've got people speculating about what could be at play here. right now we don't know enough to say there's any connection between either the election or benghazi. there may not be. but certainly somebody's at least at a minimum going to get a good spy novel out of it. >> we know that the fbi has opened up this investigation. they can't do that on someone like this type of ranking, general david petraeus, head of the cia, given his military background. they're not going to do that without the wous knowing, would they? >> not necessarily. with these big superagencies like an fbi, like a cia, they have some measure of independence from the executive branch. but they also are part of the executive branch. again, that's a great series of questions and one of the biggest there is of mystery right now. how did the fbi investigation start, how long has it been
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going on? there's some reports this morning that it's still being pursued in some ways. others are reporting there's no expectation that there will be any criminal indictments against general petraeus or the woman he's alleged to have had an extramarital apair with. the reality is, it's the investigation. it's the scrutiny of his e-mail, that led to his feeling that he had to resign over this. we need to know more, though, obviously, to understand what happened about how it started. and where it stands in terms of the investigation. >> but i understand this gmail account that's being investigated is a personal account. it is not a -- a -- hooked up to the cia, to the pentagon, anything like that. i mean, so it would -- i mean, what's it going to be about? just about personal items? national security would nover have been at risk with something like this, would it? >> the reality of people in government who use their personal accounts and their government accounts is that anything they do, they're on the clock, and if there's any question about vulnerability,
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blackmail vulnerability to other people within the government using information in a way that would negatively impact someone else, that needs to be investigated. there's just different standard for people in the intelligence world. and even beyond what normally government or leadership positions about what they -- what the -- the threat they face if they've got any personal vulnerabilities. as i said, one of the bigger mysteries people are curious about this morning is what was this investigation about? how did it start? >> interesting last question, paula broadwell, we have learned, is the woman who is being investigated for having access to his personal gmail computer. but they have not put two and two together and said that she is the woman with whom he was allegedly having an affair. >> well, it's being reported that she is. but i think at a minimum we know that the question of -- the question of whose e-mail -- who was perhaps going into his e-mail is that issue. and her relationship with general petraeus is at issue. this may all just be a personal
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tragedy, tragedy for the country, because he's been such an important leader. but, the benghazi questions, the questions of what role the cia played before, during and after the tragic event is very much at issue. and some people are saying he should still testify. despite the fact that he's no longer in the job. the fact that they quickly said he wasn't testifying is probably the thread that people are pulling at the most today. >> yeah. >> and saying that seems strange. why shouldn't he testify? >> because he could. >> why was that so front and center. you have former officials testify all the time regarding actions that they were involved in. we still don't know exactly what the cia's role was. again, both before, during and after all these events. and i suspect you're going to have people call for him to still be a witness, whether they succeed or not, because his resignation doesn't really impact what he knew, what he did, previous when he was in the job at cia. >> mark halperin, getting back to both of those little devices. thank you. >> thanks, alex. >> now the fiscal cliff. president obama has invited congressional leadership to meet with him at the white house next week in an effort to avoid the fiscal cliff.
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the looming crisis will see the expiration of the bush tax cuts and payroll tax holiday, while president obama's health care tax for the rich and $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts go into effect. joining me now, democratic congressman from kentucky john yarmouth a member of the budget committee. welco welcome, sir. >> thanks, alex. >> let's talk about this fiscal cliff. are we heading over it? >> i think there's a reasonable possibility that on the tax side we could you know? >> when i listen to senator boehner and mitch mcconnell yesterday, and when they sound somewhat willing to compromise, if you look behind what they're saying, they're not willing to compromise in any way that touches wealthy americans. because if you eliminate breaks, you're eliminating both the income tax rate and the capital gains rate and the dividend rate and the estate tax rate, then all you're dealing with are things like home mortgage deductions, eitc, child tax
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credit, preferences for your 401(k), all of the things that actually disproportionately affect middle-class americans and working americans, not the wealthy. so, they're really hiding behind this kind of rhetoric of let's deal with the preferences. but the preferences really don't touch the rich. >> so what is the solution that you would like to face? >> well, you know, i'm in line with the president that we need to deal with rates on the highest income americans. i'm not at all set on $250,000. i think that is a number that really is probably the wrong number. i had conversations with the white house. i don't know why they're stuck on it. i would think that a $500,000 figure would be perfectly acceptable, would get most of the same revenue. you could even go over $1 million. i introduced that amendment in the budget committee. didn't get one republican vote. or you can even do something like $380,000, which is the 1% threshold, so you'd be raising income on the highest 1% of earners, who in 2010 got 93% of
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all the income growth in the country. so i think that's the number we ought to be looking at and compromising, and not necessarily, again, these -- these loopholes, so-called, which really affect middle-class and lower income americans, not the wealthiest. >> how confident are you that you can slide that scale, if you look at it, to a half a million. some have suggested that. you've heard republicanss there throw out $1 million. do you think that is where the compromise ultimately will settle? >> i think that's where the compromise ought to be. the other's ideological. it's hard to compromise ideology, but you can compromise dollars. and that seems a much more feasible approach than this whole idea about cutting taxes on job creators, and things with this kind of mythology that many republicans in the past. >> all right, sir, you go ahead and have a good cough there and let's talk about the permanent solution. do you think that we will get one prior to january 1st? or might we get a short-term measure like we saw back in
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2010? i know the phrase kiing the can down the road has been applied to that. a stopgap measure? how do you see this playing out? >> i think the likelihood of a permanent measure is very remote. i think we're more likely to postpone the spending cuts. i think that would be disastrous for the economy. and i think we're likely to let the tax cuts expire than come back in january, and cut the taxes for at least 98% of americans. you know, i'd like to see, i think there are a lot of republicans out there, if the logjam broke, and there's a guy named scott riggle from virginia who is actually publicly renounced the grover norquist pledge, he told me he thinks there are dozens of other republicans who would be interested in doing that. if there was a little movement there, we could get a working coalition in the house between democrats and republicans to move forward on the tax question. >> may i ask you on something completely unrelated? ashley judd, the actress rumored to be considering a bid for
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mitch mcconnell's senate seat in 2014. a fellow kentuckian. what do you think of that? >> i think it's an exciting prospect. i think what ashley would bring to the table would be, obviously celebrity. i think it would raise the profile of that race to -- it would become the most important race in the country in 2014. and what she can do, which a lot of other people can't do, is talk about a new vision for our commonwealth. and you know, mitch mcconnell will have been here 30 years. he hasn't really had a new idea in 20 of those 30 years. >> ouch. >> and kentucky needs a new -- i go way back with mitch. we go this way all the time. but, kentucky does need a new vision. we've relied too much on things like coal and agriculture and some other things that are great parts of our economy, but our commonwealth needs new vision and that can come from someone like ashley judd, who is passionate, who studied the issues, and is very, very smart. and she would get attention. >> i'm sure. >> i think it's exciting.
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>> definitely she'll get attention that's for sure. i'm sure from this network and everybody else. many thanks for joining us. >> okay, alex, thank you. straight ahead, why is florida still counting? gether, and these come together, one thing you can depend on is that these will come together. delicious and wholesome. some combinations were just meant to be. tomato soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] don't just reject convention. drown it out. introducing the all-new 2013 lexus ls f sport. an entirely new pursuit.
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turning to florida, where the clock is ticking. florida counties have until noon today to deliver their results from the presidential election. joining me now for a look at the president's road to re-election and the challenges ahead is former pennsylvania governor ed rendell, a co-chair of the fix the debt campaign. and joe watkins, republican strategist from the former aide to president george h.w. bush. good to see you. >> good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> governor, not to pick on florida, however, you know state politics, and the vote counting process. would this happen in pennsylvania? i mean what is it about florida? >> well, no. the counties would have delivered the vote way before this. now, there may be an automatic recount triggered by the florida statute, but to deliver the initial vote four days later,
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there's something grievously wrong in florida. and governor scott ought to empanel a bipartisan commission to look at all of florida's election laws. for example, the weekend before, closing the weekend before closing down the early voting in miami. it was an absolute disgrace and embarrassment, an infringement on our right to vote and our ability to vote. florida needs a thorough examination of all of their election laws. all right. let's get to what happened tuesday. your take away, governor, on what happened. how did the president register a decisive win and why did republicans think they had a chance in pa? >> it goes back to the enthusiasm gap, alex. the enthusiasm gap never exested. there's an old saying a tepid vote counts as much as a wildly enthusiastic vote. the president's ground operation, tepid, not quite sure voters came out to the polls.
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number three, there was real enthusiasm. i went around and talked at african-american churches on sunday. there was a real anger that they didn't believe the president was getting a fair shake and they were also angry about these voter suppression laws. the voter i.d. laws around the country backfired terribly on the gop. >> joe, is the current identity of the republican party sustainable? >> i think the republican party has to do a whole lot better, alex. we cannot win national elections on the backs of white men. it's got to be a party that accomplishes minorities, that is to say african-americans, certainly latinos, women and young people. and to the degree that republicans are successful in the future beginning now and reaching out to african-americans and having people in office and supporting those people to run for office who look like me and who are latino or who are asian or who are young or who are women, the
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degree that the party does that and does that effectively is the degree to which this party will be effective in national elections going forward. >> alex, comment a little bit about that. i think joe's right. obviously the republicans have got to field more candidates that are diverse, but that's not it alone. they've got to look at the policies that have turned off minority voters. linda mcmahon in connecticut, a woman, was beaten by a man, and it goes to the policies that the gop has been looking at. the gop laws, governor romney lost single women 68 to 30. you can't possibly do that. it's mystifying. and the policies, the war on women which the republican hierarchy poo pooed. >> about the same number for hispanics as well, governor. he lost hispanics by the same number. >> yes. you can't just change the hispanic vote by putting up a few hispanic candidates. you've got to pass the green act. the republican party has to decide that they're going to
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collaborate with democrats to pass the dream act. puts that issue aside so it's no longer a dividing line for latino voters. they have to get rid of these invasive vaginal stains. women are very particular, they should be, about their right to control their own body. they've got to get off this. as long as these are the policies that they follow putting up a few attractive candidates who are women or minorities isn't going to make it. >> you know what, joe, do you think the republicans are going to sit back now and do a reality check and look at things like what ed rendell is saying? others, they lost. >> i think so, alex. i think that republicans wanted to be competitive. they'd like to win going forward and to have a chance to do that you've got to consider all the things that the governor just said. and we've got to look at policies. we've got to look at enlisting the people and that's the only way we're going to be successful. >> joe, ed, i have a he got to fly. nick's having a problem in the booth. thanks so much.
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